If you haven’t taken a close look at the hypervisor from Nutanix, AHV, well you might be missing out on something very valuable – that you already have access to as a Nutanix customer. AHV addresses the majority of the use cases people require with virtualization, and it does so very well with a simple deployment, simple management and POWERFUL features when Prism Central is added (and still powerful when it’s not).

Deploying Nutanix with ESXi, migrations are pretty simple and straightforward and we do them with speed and certainty, to use our eGroup mantra. Going from ESXi to AHV can require more planning, testing and more planning. There’s 3rd party tools out there like Sureline’s SureEdge migrator to help with this, but Nutanix continues to push and advance tools for the AHV solution that mirror the rest of the environment, just plain simple.

Image result for nutanix xtract

Nutanix released Xtract for VMs back in 2017, to provide a simplistic method of migrating to AHV from ESXi, and has proven its value many times over. Recently rebraded Nutanix Move this week, Nutanix has expanded the functionality of this tool to now include migrating to AHV from Hyper-V and AWS in the new 3.0 version.

Move Functionality

For those that haven’t looked at Move (ever or in a while), let’s do a recap on what it’s purpose is, in Nutanix’s own words:

Nutanix Move helps streamline ‘lift-and-shift’ virtual machine (VM) migrations to a Nutanix Enterprise Cloud.

  • Streamlined migrations with one-click simplicity
  • Near-zero downtime with full cutover control
  • Simple test migrations and roll-back capabilities
  • Cost efficient – included with all Nutanix software editions

Make sure you read the Nutanix Move Operations list of supported operations, as well as the Unsupported scenarios for Move to ensure your migration is successful.

Move uses the VMware Storage APIs to connect to the source systems (vCenter), does a full data copy to the AHV environment and then uses CBT to track changes to the VM over time to ensure successful data migrations.

Move Components

Move is a very simple migration service. For ESXi to AHV, there’s just 2 components, the Nutanix-Move VM deployed to the Nutanix cluster, and the CBT Driver that is installed in in the Windows VMs that will be migrated. For AWS migrations, the NTNX-MOVE-AGENT is also deployed in EC2, and it’s purpose is to interface with the source VM to facilitate the migration, works with AWS APIs to take snapshots and transfers data from source to target.

Deploying Move

Deploying Move is as simple as downloading the zip file and extracting, and then either running the cli commands to deploy to the cluster or by uploading the image to Prism Element, and then creating a new VM from the Image Service. For the purposes of this message, we’ll deploy using the CLI to show how simple it is.

Once downloaded, the unzipped file has everything you need for deployment. As mentioned, we’re doing to deploy via cli. To start the deployment, run the binary file for your OS with the -C switch and Prism VIP, as shown below.

$ ./cli-darwin-amd64-3.0.0 -c to the Nutanix 'Nutanix-Move' version 3.0.0Connecting to 'AHV cluster'; hostname/IP address username for AHV cluster : adminStoring logs in directory /var/folders/qm/c0ff1xmx7297lbdddhc1mj5h0000gn/T/moveEnter password for user admin(9):

Enter a username for Prism and password, and you’ll be connected to the cluster. Next up is to deploy the Move VM, also done thru CLI using the command below:

deploy-vm vm-container CE-Container vm-network Servers

The command requires the Container to deploy to and the Network to use.  My network has DHCP enabled so the Move VM will pick up an IP Address automatically.  If you don’t have DHCP, you can run the command configure-static-ip to configure an IP for the Move VM.

Once the deployment completes, a browser window will be launched to the Move VM interface.

Adding Move Sources

Once the Move VM is online, we’ll need to add our Source and Destination environments.  Source would be 1+ ESXi environments, and destination would be 1+ AHV environments.

Source and Target Environments

Migration Plan

As with everything else Nutanix does, creating a migration plan with Move is incredibly simple.  The process is as follows:

  1. Select Source and Target (target includes Container to perform migration to, only a single container per migration plan can be chosen).
  2. Select VM(s) to be migrated by clicking the plus mark next to the vm.
  3. Select VM preparation method (auto or manual).
    • This loads the VirtIO drivers to the VM.
    • Entering credentials for the VMs to allow for the prep.  This can be done either thru common credentials, or by entering credentials per VM.
  4. Configure Target Network – this is for all VMs in the migration plan.
    • Scheduling of Data Seeding can be configured here as well.

Once the steps are completed, we are ready to kick off the data migration.  Note, this does not actually migrate the VMs at this time.

2019-03-15_10-15-01.pngOnce the data seeding process starts, Move provides a status on how much data has been migrated with remaining ETA.

Once the initial seeding is completed, everything will be kept in check by CBT and Move will continuously synchronize the data to the AHV cluster.    Move will then provide estimated time for failover.


Note that in the image above, one of my VMs is ready for cutover and the other is not.   The great feature of Move is that you can move VMs when ready, even if they are part of the same Migration plan.

Make note of the below once you start the cutover.


Post Cutover

Once your VM is cutover, the great part of Move is that it does not delete the Source VM immediately, it just powers it off.    This is great in the event that there is any issues with the VM conversion process, you can always power down the VM in AHV and power up the VM in ESXi.  And very helpful is the note about when the migration occurred on the VM, in case anybody questions why/when the VM was powered off.


Final Notes

I’ve used Xtract 2.x in a few migrations, it’s helpful and super simple, very set it and forget it.  I love seeing the progress that Nutanix is making with Move and the features it provides!    Having Hyper-V to AHV is a great addition, and I’d love to see an Azure to AHV migration capability as well in the future (I believe it’s on the roadmap, or hope it is).

Accelerate the migration to Nutanix AHV with Move
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